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Monday, May 20, 2019

Value of Conference Themes: Part I

The themes for the upcoming DKG international conferences were generated from input by members who attended the 2018 International Convention in Austin, Texas. As fate would have it, each of the various sites booked for the conferences well in advance (2-3 years prior!) aligned very well with a particular theme so that the overall “line up” fell into place almost effortlessly! Ultimately, the five themes also align beautifully with DKG’s mission to promote the professional and personal growth of women educators and excellence in education.

One does not have to be an arts educator to recognize the importance of the arts and humanities to DKG members, who live in a world currently dominated by budget cuts to arts programs and a push for focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Within the broader educational community, many have lobbied to expand STEM to STEAM by adding the “A” for arts! And within the DKG community, development of the DKG Fine Arts Gallery and of the Collegial Exchange magazine has provided members with increased opportunities to stretch and share their talents. The Gallery policy statement notes, “The online Arts & Humanities Gallery shall be maintained so that members of DKG may display their creative arts…and all may enjoy, respect and learn more about excellence in arts and crafts.” The editorial board policy notes that the Collegial Exchange, as “an official publication of the Society, promotes professional and personal growth of members through publication of their writings.” Thus, the arts and humanities clearly have become dear to DKG members both as important components of an excellent education and as media for self-expression and growth.

The same can be said, of course, for the theme of the second international conference: leadership. As teaming and professional learning communities (PLCs) have become more prevalent in education, members need to know how to lead (and follow) effectively, and the second conference will contribute to professional and personal growth in this area. Those who wish to pursue leadership positions within educational hierarchies will benefit from the inspiration of proven leaders and have the opportunity to develop networks to assist their own growth. At the same time, those who choose to lead within the Society will receive training and guidance to help them hone their skills in the relatively safe venue of DKG. Simply put, as the need for quality leadership increases in the profession and in the Society, attendees at the second international conference will find much to meet their needs.

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